Long Road Ahead
Glenn didn't speak a word to me the whole way back to the drugstore. I knew it wasn't because he had nothing to say to me, but rather, he was waiting until we got back to safety to bawl me out.
Kenny greeted us as we returned through the back entrance. "Everyone alright?"
"Yeah," Lee replied. "We had some close calls, but Glenn and Aur are fine and... well, yeah... we're okay." He shrugged his shoulders lightly and glanced at the floor, not meeting Kenny's gaze. The mustachioed man didn't press him further.
"I've got a few cans of gas for your pickup in the trunk of my car," Glenn said quietly. His hands were on his hips and his gaze was downturned. He didn't dare look in my direction.
"Good to hear it," Kenny replied.
"And things back here?" Carley asked, stepping out of the doorway.
"Quiet," he replied as he glanced towards Larry, who was still slumped on the back wall. "Our friend is still in and out over there. He won't survive any more stress."
"The next order of business is getting those pills out of the pharmacy," Lee concluded, and the other man simply nodded at him before returning to his family.
Glenn had slipped out of my line of sight, and now occupied a spot next to the bathroom. He had his arms crossed and was leaning his back against the wall, pretending to be lost in thought as he looked away from me. I settled in next to him, sitting on the ledge in front of the grate that guarded the pharmacy. It didn't budge a bit under my weight.
"Glenn," I began, seeing as he wasn't about to lay into me just yet. "Back at the Motor Inn..."
"How can it be that bad so fast?" he said solemnly, shrugging his shoulders and keeping his gaze on the floor.
"Some people just wanna end it when given the option. It's easier for them that way... spares a lot of suffering on their part."
He shook his head. "I guess, but that's not me. I'm not giving up, not for anything."
I picked at my fingernails a bit while I pondered how to reply. Eventually I settled on the simplest option: "That's good."
"You let her do it, you know," Glenn spat, turning to face me briefly. Now I knew this was what he had been waiting to say. "You and Lee-- you said give her the gun."
"Why the hell would you do that?" he squinted in anger and raised his voice a bit.
"She didn't want to live, Glenn," I replied, keeping my voice steady. "It was mercy."
"You never know," he continued. "You can't give up hope."
"I think it was over for her, Glenn," I finished, but I didn't leave just yet.
I remained in my seat by the grate and tentatively placed a hand on Glenn's shoulder. He didn't react, but it didn't really seem like he was angry with me anymore.
I wondered if he had ever really been angry with me, or with himself, or if the sight of someone else losing hope that way had simply shaken him up and he needed an outlet.
Lee approached us after a bit, smiling at me before he turned to Glenn.
"What's your next move?" he asked.
"I don't know," Glenn answered. "I mean, you guys seem okay."
"What about your family?"
"Yeah, I... I..." Glenn trailed off there, making his answer very clear.
"Forget it, man," Lee said softly. "That's your business."
Glenn looked towards me briefly, and then down at the floor. "I hate feeling like I can't do anything," he mumbled.
"I know the feeling, man," Lee responded, also sending a quick glance my way. "Try to get some rest."
Glenn leaned back against the wall. "Yeah, right."
Glenn and I sat around for several more minutes, him feeling disheartened and me unsure of what to do. It wasn't long, however, before I saw Lee and Doug hurry back through the front door after having looked around outside. Lee carried something in his hand, what I assumed to be the key to the pharmacy. He looked a bit shaken up.
He spoke to Lilly, who followed him into the back of the building. I let a smile briefly cross my face, thankful that Larry would be getting the medicine he needed, even if he was an asshole.
My joy was shortlived, however, as an alarm abruptly rang out among the building. It was the loudest sound I had heard in awhile, and it hurt my ears.
Everyone panicked, sure that the sound would draw the dead to our location.
"I'm gonna get the truck pulled up 'round back!" Kenny hollered as everyone clamored to grab their belongings and loved ones. He barked out a stream of orders, and I was grateful for the sense of direction it brought me in the chaos.
My job was to assist Glenn in getting everything into the vehicle, supplies and passengers alike. He met me a bit later outside as I struggled to hoist a can of gas into the bed of Kenny's truck, figuring he would need it.
Glenn rushed outside, lifting Duck into his arms and tossing him unceremoniously into the truck. As far as I knew, the only remaining people inside were Lee, Carley, and Doug.
"Where's Clementine?" I shouted, the loudest I had been all day.
"Shit!" It dawned on Kenny and he rushed back into the building, still holding onto Lee's axe. I heard him shouting at the others as he went. Larry followed after him.
I waited anxiously until I could see Kenny return, Doug and Clementine following behind him. She turned her head however, looking back towards Larry, who was still inside.
"No!" she yelled, but Larry grabbed her hand and yanked her out onto the street towards the getaway truck.
Lee and Carley still weren't here.
Kenny snarled and rushed back inside, holding his axe at ready. By this time Glenn had pulled me into his car, and I could only watch the door for the two men to return, my anxiety bubbling up from the pit of my stomach.
After too long, Kenny emerged again dragging a muck-covered Lee along with him. I saw no signs of Carley, however, as the remaining survivors piled into their getaway vehicles and we all sped away from the drugstore.
We all wound up back at the motor inn, the same place where I'd seen another survivor take her escape route.
I still sat huddled in the passenger seat of Glenn's car, knees pulled up to my chest, as he stood with the door open and listened to the same emergency broadcast play over the radio that had been going for the past week.
I glanced around to see Lilly piling up some bodies of the undead, and Kenny's family going through their belongings in the back of the truck. It almost seemed as if they were ready to settle in.
"You know we can't do this," I muttered.
"Yeah," Glenn replied, rubbing his forehead. He seemed very affected by the events prior, and I wondered if it was the apparent death of a comrade that bothered him, or death in and of itself.
Lee approached Glenn from the front side of the car. They paused and listened to the radio, which reiterated the catastrophe state of Atlanta.
"I think we need to go," Glenn explained to him.
"To Atlanta?" Lee asked. "It sounds like nobody knows what's happening there. When we left a few days ago, it could have gone either way."
Atlanta was supposed to be a refuge. There were supposed to be resources there, and help... when it all began, that's where we were headed. But it seemed like the dead littered the street so much that we couldn't escape them no matter where we went.
"We gotta take our chances," Glenn said, his head down.
I could see Lilly standing nearby, her arms crossed. I met her gaze with a solemn one of my own, and I noticed Lee wave her off out of the corner of my eye.
"You gotta do what you gotta do," Lee said quietly.
"And we gotta do this," Glenn replied.
"I respect that."
"You guys be safe."
"And Lee, you know," Glenn paused, "if this doesn't get better... people are going to give up. Like the girl from upstairs." I looked down and picked at my nails. "Are you just going to let them? You told Carley to give her the gun."
"Yeah, I did," Lee replied simply.
"Maybe you were right," Glenn said, his voice shaky. "I don't know how to handle something like that." He paused as Lee and I shared a look of grief. "Anyway, see you around."
Lee bent down to eye-level with me, and gave me a smile and a nod, which I returned full force. If I would miss anyone from this group, it was him. But I trusted him to take care of everyone, too.
Glenn climbed back in the car, started it, and we were gone.
yeah... i don't really care for this chapter, but i wanted to finish it up and get it posted, after having been on hiatus for so long.